Sunday, December 3, 2023

‘No more wasteful spending:’ airport dissidents take fight to court

A group opposed to wasteful government spending had a big legal victory this week: a federal court issued an injunction ordering the suspension of construction at the site of the federal government’s new airport.

And the stage is set for a lot more legal battles in the weeks, months and possibly years ahead.

The #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste) Collective has filed 147 separate injunctions that could hold up or threaten construction of the new airport at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base in México state.

Made up of civil society organizations, law firms and more than 100 citizens, the collective’s goal is a review of the legality of the cancelation of the new Mexico City International Airport (NAIM) and to ensure that the Santa Lucía project has all the necessary permits.

“The unjustified cancelation of the NAIM in Texcoco has cost Mexicans hundreds of billions of pesos [and caused] the disappearance of 46,000 direct jobs as well as the loss of legal certainty and confidence of national and international companies to continue investing in our country,” the collective said in a statement.

“. . . The project to build a civil international airport at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base doesn’t solve the saturation problem that currently exists . . . represents a significant risk for air security and in addition lacks the necessary technical, financial, legal and economic studies.”

The injunction issued by a federal administrative court stipulates that the suspension of construction will remain in force until such time as the federal government proves that it has all the necessary environmental permits.

“With this decision, the federal judicial power once again demonstrates to citizens that it is a real counterweight to hasty and unjustified decisions of the executive power, and generates an important precedent,” the #NoMásDerroches collective said.

It added that it will continue to seek legal recourse not just against the Santa Lucía project but also “any other infrastructure project that leads to the destruction of ecosystems and possible violations of human rights.”

That would indicate it could initiate legal action against the new oil refinery in Tabasco and the Maya Train project on the Yucatán peninsula, both of which could pose environmental threats.

Among the collective’s members are Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, the Mexican Employers Federation and the Mexican Human Rights Commission.

In response to the ruling, Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú said that work at the airport can’t stop because it hasn’t even started, adding that he expected that an environmental impact study for the project will be completed by the end of the month.

President López Obrador also said that no work has yet started but added, “all the same we’re going to respect the decision of the judge.”

Opponents of the government are “going to put obstacles [in the path of] everything – injunction after injunction – but we’re going to comply with the law and there’s not going to be any problem,” he declared.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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